Abbott needs to clarify letter on referendum

Diane Abbott has been challenged to explain her position on Brexit after another day of confusion in the Labour camp over the party’s policy on giving the people a say on the final deal.

By Liberal Democrats, Nov 29, 2017 7:11

The flags of EU countries flying.

The Liberal Democrats put into the public domain letters Abbott wrote to constituents announcing that she supports a referendum.

Diane Abbott’s letter stated “I will argue for the right of the electorate to vote on any deal that is finally agreed”

But when contacted by journalists, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary then claimed that her letter had been “poorly worded”. However, anti-Brexit Labour MPs congratulated Abbott on her letter attacking Brexit.

Liberal Democrat Brexit spokesperson Tom Brake, due to table an amendment in parliament in December to give the people a vote on the final deal, said:

“Diane Abbott’s letter seemed clearly worded to me. If she wants to avoid the impression that she says one thing in Hackney and another in Westminster, she needs to explain what her position is.

“Hackney voted 78% remain yet Jeremy Corbyn has consistently ordered his MPs through the division lobbies to support Theresa May’s extreme Brexit. Diane Abbott has also voted for Brexit.”

Cable challenges Corbyn

Earlier, Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable called on Jeremy Corbyn to join him in voting for an “exit from Brexit” after the letter seemed to show a change in Labour’s position.

“It is really encouraging that such a senior member of the shadow cabinet should come out for the Liberal Democrat position of giving the public a vote on the final deal.

“The Conservative government’s handling of Brexit has been a fiasco, heading us towards an extreme Brexit that few voted for, which would take us out of the single market and customs union.

“Until now Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has been Theresa May’s most useful ally on Brexit, ordering its MPs to vote to take Britain out of Europe no matter what.

“But in December Jeremy Corbyn and Keir Starmer have the chance to give Labour voters an early Christmas present by voting for this Lib Dem amendment.

“I call on them to confirm that they back the position stated in Diane Abbott’s letter.

“The Conservative government’s majority is wafer thin. The DUP is opposed to a hard border in Ireland. If the progressive parties did work together to give the public a say on the final deal, we could, even at this late hour, still stop Brexit.”

Continued confusion

Diane Abbott’s changing position on Brexit has sparked considerable debate.

She was accused of having “Brexit flu” after missing a crucial vote in parliament, with senior Labour MP Caroline Flint calling on her to resign.

But she then recovered from her apparent migraine to vote for Article 50 along with most of the parliamentary Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Moments afterwards, however, she described Brexit as “disastrous”.

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